The Leaves Will Fall


A collective rustle vibrated through the trees. Isaac opened his eyes to watch the Darkening.

A great breath – not wind, but an exhale that from the trees themselves – blew through the woods. The leaves began to quiver, their light shimmering and flickering, and in one instantaneous moment, they fell. The light dissolved into darkness as they fluttered to the ground. It only lasted a few moments, and soon the world around them had sunk into darkness.

The Darkening was complete.



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“Who sent you?” Isaac repeated, panting as well. Discharge didn’t only take its toll on its victims.

Knowing he’d pay for his silence, the Stranger remained resolute, determined not to give away anything that might deter his mission – Isaac Vidar knowing who sent him would likely cost him his life. He tried to brace himself, knowing what was coming as Isaac swung his arm once again, but it didn’t lessen the pain upon impact. The Stranger had known pain, had felt pain, in his seventy-six years, but he’d never felt pain like this. Unable to hold in the anguish from Isaac’s discharge, he cried out again, despite his best efforts not to.

“Who?” Isaac cried again, aiming this time for the Stranger’s unprotected stomach. “Who?”

It was excruciating; searing electricity coursed through his body from the point of impact. He was coughing up blood now; breathing was becoming more and more difficult. Isaac staggered back a couple steps; the Stranger could feel his eyes on him as his head sagged forward, gasping, trying to catch his breath. His mouth slacked open; he couldn’t seem to close it. Blood and spit dribbled down to his lap. How he’d ever find a way out of this situation was beyond him. Cursing inwardly, he berated himself for not being prepared to encounter the man who was rumored to be the girl’s father.

In that moment, in that thought, something prompted him to look up. He didn’t know what stirred him to do it, but as he did, he saw the very thing he was strapped to this chair, suffering, for. The girl.

She stood in the doorway, face aghast as she clutched a shirt around her so tightly her knuckles were white; her dark hair hung loosely around her shoulders; her porcelain legs contrasted with the darkness of the hall behind her. But what took the Stranger most by surprise, what stopped his breathing and made the pain disappear for one miracle of a second, were her eyes. Her eyes pierced his, sending a jolt of electricity through him – not unlike Isaac’s blows, but without the pain.

In that moment, the Stranger’s world shifted. Those two eyes – one green, one silver – brought back out of the recesses of his memory the words of his mother, uttered years and years ago. In that moment, Rein Torvald, the Stranger tied to the chair, knew two things that just a few moments ago he would have scoffed at as impossible, were absolutely certain:

Æydan Csitrali, this woman who was barely more than a child, had unknowingly robbed him of his heart. And she would, he felt in the depths of his soul, be the death of him.


Get your copy of SHRILUGH: Book One of the Shrilugh Saga at Amazon, B&N, iTunes, or Smashwords.





“Aydan. Sweet Aydan.”

Aydan smiled at the sound of Rein’s voice and rolled over, groaning a little. She was exhausted in the best possible way. Rein was dressed, but his hair was wet; he smelled of soap. He reached for her hands, pulling her into a sitting position.

“Come here.” He tugged her to her feet. With a yawn she grabbed the sheet, trying to wrap it around herself as Rein pulled back a flap of wall from the canvas tent, revealing a smaller room. Two free-standing tubs sat in the middle; steam rose from one, along with the same comforting, sweet smell that always accompanied Merryn’s baths. Aydan looked at Rein, surprised.

“I asked the servants to fill it while you were sleeping.”

She smiled. “Are we taking a bath now?”

“You are. I already did.”

“Oh.” She didn’t try to hide her disappointment.

He chuckled. “Next time. Dinner will be ready by the time you get out.”

“Not breakfast?”

“I’m afraid we’ve missed breakfast…and lunch…” He grinned.

She matched his grin and reached for him, running her hands down his back, kissing his neck.

“You’re never going to eat if you keep doing that.”

She pulled away with a sly glance, letting the sheet fall down around her ankles. “That’s okay.”

“No, it’s not.” He scooped her up and lowered her into the water, his smile every bit as sly as hers. She let out a squeal at the bite of hot water on her skin. “You need your strength. And I’m an old man. I need some rest.”

“Old,” she scoffed. “You people don’t get old.”

“You people?” He lifted an eyebrow.

“You know what I mean.”

“Us, we, you and me. We’re one and the same, Sweet Aydan.”

“I know. I’m still getting used to it.”

His smile turned soft, and he placed a kiss on the tip of her nose. “Take all the time you like.”


You can find THE DARKENING: Book Two of the Shrilugh Saga at Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords, along with my other two titles. Enjoy!